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Mats1

Managing a military & economy

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I have a game world of a couple of dozen planets (this may expand a little more), six resources, multiple factions and a variety of ships both military and cargo orientated. I'm now looking at how I can get an AI to trade resources appropriately, to balance ship building (military vs cargo) and make at least okay decisions about when to take military action, against whom and to organize a military campaign effectively (e.g. Identifying planets with key resources for self or enemy, judging cost vs benefit of conquering). Could anyone point me to some articles, websites, open source games etc or does anyone have any comments that would make a good starting point?

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What part of the process, specifically, are you stuck on?

Really you should just write down all the "rules" and guidelines and exceptions you can think of, and then see if a system would be well suited to those rules.

If you already have the rules but can't decide on a system for implementing them, you might have better results posting that information as well, so we can make suggestions.

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What part of the process, specifically, are you stuck on?

Really you should just write down all the "rules" and guidelines and exceptions you can think of, and then see if a system would be well suited to those rules.

If you already have the rules but can't decide on a system for implementing them, you might have better results posting that information as well, so we can make suggestions.

I have a system for internal trading to ensure economic stability and that planets have correct resources to build fleets. What I'm least sure about is:
-How to judge if trading with an neutral civilization is more beneficial than having a war with that civilization to try and take 100% of the resources on some (or all) of its planets, including taking into account how powerful that civilization is and if its resources are spread across multiple wars or its planets are in difficult strategic positions to hold onto. 
-How to work out which planet(s) are the best targets to attack in a war and how much to distribute offense/defense and to each attack.

There are way too many variables to calculate this stuff out. It looks to me like a huge problem and I'm really looking for some pointers in the right direction so I am not just shooting in the dark trying random stuff until eventually some bodged together mess kind of badly does the job (unless that's how games like this end up going down anyway).
 

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In general, there are two possibilities. Either you have too many variables for real - in which case you need to find ones to eliminate or ignore - or you have a reasonable number of variables but you're just intimidated by the complexity. In the second case, you pretty much have two options: make a simpler game, or just take a deep breath and dive in :-)


If you want a mathematical solution you should either model the system directly or look for heuristics that can approximate the decisions you want the AI to make.

Keep in mind that the idea of a "true solution" may hamper you more than it helps. Having four or five solutions, each of which "feel" different, can be powerful as well. This is especially true if you want to model personality in your AI "characters."


Another option is to just play suboptimally and accept it. For many games it is plenty feasible to play suboptimally without compromising on the difficulty of the game.

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